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FDA approves Truvada in Canada
May 17, 2012

Hi, I live in british columbia,canada and on the front page of the newspaper its saying that truvada has been approved by the FDA for prevention of hiv! i was stunned to read this, and am a bit aprehensive. I myself have been hiv pos since 2005(I have taken Truvada & Kaletra since 2006). My partner of 15yrs is hiv neg.

Can you please tell me what your take on this news is? And if possible, how it would be prescribed, would it be covered financially, and ANYTHING that you know regarding this (if true) amazing miracle for hiv/aids!!! Thank you!!

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting from BC.

If you're referring to this article in the Vancouver Sun, the FDA hasn't yet given approval, only that the advisory panel has recommended the agency approval. A technical detail, but important for regulatory reasons. Full approval will likely come in a matter of weeks (and I'd guess for the media bucks, around the time of the AIDS2012 conference in Washington DC this summer).

Having said that, the approval of a medication for HIV prevention is indeed big news. While not a comprehensive strategy in itself (ie., getting routine testing, condoms, limiting sexual partners, etc are still part of the story), this gives at-risk people another tool to stay healthy. It should also be said (since a major international conference just concluded on this topic in Vancouver) that testing and treating people who are positive ("treatment as prevention, TasP) is also going to be a very major part of the story to stop HIV transmission (and improve the health of those who are positive too).

There are certainly going to be barriers to implementation of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), such as training healthcare providers how to monitor and prescribe the medication and that nagging question about cost and who will pay for the medication.

I welcome the news. BY



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